Three wheels on The Track

A letter from the grandson of E H Ware reminds me of Ware’s Brooklands racing with Morgan three-wheelers, and the accident he had in the 1924 JCC 200-mile race. During a pitstop Parry Thomas remarked that when he overtook the Morgan he could smell burning rubber. Whether this was reported to Ware’s pit I do not know, but if it was a difficult situation might arise if Ware stopped and found nothing wrong with the car – one competitor stopped by another competitor.

Anyway, it was too late. The Morgan came fast off the Byfleet banking and crashed into the Vickers shed bordering the Track. Ware and his mechanic Allchin were both very badly injured. Apparently the low-speed chain had become entangled in the rear wheel. Soon afterwards Francis Beart came in and chopped wood away close to his back wheel – maybe the seat had dropped dangerously. The race was not stopped, nor an ambulance brought onto the Track, so presumably stretchers were used to take them to the nearby Fork entrance where the ambulance would be waiting (could it have been a Model-T Ford?).

A ban was imposed on Morgans but when the New Cyclecar Club was formed in 1928 they were reinstated. A car did overturn in a 1928 race, but it was an Austin 7, not one of the Morgans.

Apparently in 1924 Ware was using his 1914 Renault truck to convey his racing Morgan between the JAP engine works at Tottenham and the Brooklands circuit.

In later years these Morgans constituted an enthralling sight in the Light Car Club’s 90-lap Relay races, in which the fastest car was to start first, but if it retired before its 30 laps the second-fastest had to do the missing laps plus its own 30. The same applied to the team’s third car.

I always hoped to see a Morgan team win from the many one-make and mixed-make teams in these races, especially in 1937 when Sir Herbert Austin entered a team of works cars, drivers Bert Hadley, Goodacre and Kaye Petre.

I was told that the drivers used elastic bands on the steering wheel throttle levers to keep them fully open, so they could have both hands on the steering wheel. They won, at 105.63mph. Alas for me, a Morgan victory was not to be.